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Various legal and policy matters are among challenges the budding Internet industry faces while a portal-driven Internet strategy is what it is looking forward to make e-commerce initiative a roaring success. This was observed by Toh See Kiat, Chairman, CommerceNet, Singapore Limited, (CNSG), who delivered his speech at ITCN-Asia 2001 Conference on Saturday.

Toh See Kiat, a member of Singapore parliament, in his talk said there were several legal hitches needing to be sorted out. Floating an example, he said it had to be made clear as to when the contract would come into effect; whether it would be considered effective at the time of delivery on the net or at the time it had reached its receiver.

He was optimistic that by 2004 global sales e-commerce, B2B and B2C related goods and services would reach $6.8 trillion or 8.6 per cent of global sales. But said festering issues like security and encryption, trust and interoperability between e-commerce applications and legacy systems, ability to make and receive payments coupled with lack of knowledge and dearth of qualified personnel and executive awareness were some of the issues which need to be arrested on a war-footings.

"Creating legal certainty is one way to build trust. Legal certainty need not just consumer laws but other laws too," he said. How should that be done, he questioned, answering it the very next moment, by saying that new application of old laws is the only way to make it possible. For that purpose, new concepts should be developed and comprehensive laws drafted, clarifying therein certain old concepts, he added.

He said various countries were framing copyright and intellectual property laws besides codes to contain hacking in which boys and girls as old as 12 years were involved. He said his country was developing a new law to be accepted over the Internet. He underlined that there was a need to re-educate lawyers, judges and legislatures. In that regard he cited several examples of Singapore's approach.
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